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New Pods

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I have been making pods for 14 years.

But What Does It Mean? - sculpture by artist Emily MillerBut What Does It Mean?, plaster gauze and washi paper, ©2003.

It began in 2003, in response to my first encounter with the artspeak and analysis of the “art world.” I created a set of wall pods titled “But What Does It Mean?” that are meant to simply exist. Their only motivation or statement is a basic “I AM.”

Over the years I continued to think about the relationship of concrete meaning and intellectual analysis to visual art. I found that art’s greatest value was in the space between the experience of art and its description. And I continued to create new groups of pods.

Balls - sculpture by artist Emily MillerSuspicion - sculpture by artist Emily Miller
Left: Balls, cast and carved plaster, ©2007. Right: Suspicion, stoneware and LED lights, ©2014.

From the beginning, I felt the pods had a sense of life and awareness. This became an important part of my thinking about meaning and art. The pods came to represent a question with no answer: What is the meaning of life? Can you define its value? Can you enclose the meaning, and value, of art?

Wanderers - sculpture installation by artist Emily MillerWanderers, porcelain, glow pigment, light, installation, ©2016.

Over the years, the pods have journeyed into semi-specific territories. I thought about how they relate to each other, and their environment. Their groupings seemed to suggest relationships, colony growth patterns, the line between diversity and sameness, self and other, known and unknown.

Wanderers - sculpture installation by artist Emily MillerWanderers, porcelain, glow pigment, light, installation, ©2016.

I mentally placed their homes in the depths of the forest, or hidden low on the rocks below the tideline. Their open tops are an invitation to pause and look closely, to catch a glimpse of something hidden and bright. They serve as ambassadors of the mysterious wonder of nature, and life, quietly growing in the corners of the human-built world.

Rope Baskets - sculpture by artist Emily MillerRope Baskets, reclaimed lobster rope and stones, ©2015.

All the pods are meant to be touched. I have used them to explore my love of materials and surface texture, from hard smooth plaster and velvet soft handmade paper, to the roughness of salvaged rope, and cracks and bumps and facets carved into raw porcelain and clay.

Right now, I am working on three related ceramic series: Lava Pots, Lagoon Pots, and Anemone Pots.

The Lava Pots are inspired by still-cooling lava flows, with a black, hardened shell and a molten interior.

Lava Pots - sculpture by artist Emily MillerLava Pots, stoneware, ©2014-present.

Lagoon Pots are the shallows of a white sand beach under crystal clear water, reflecting sunlight in ripples.

Lagoon Pots - sculpture by artist Emily MillerLagoon Pots, porcelain, ©2017.

Anemone Pots are the closed, exposed form of brilliant turquoise sea anemones, their tentacles retracted and waiting for the return of the tide.

Anemone Pots - sculpture by artist Emily MillerAnemone Pots, stoneware, ©2017.

The abstraction and simplification of each form returns to the original meaning of the pods series:

I AM.